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Credit Card Debt

West Covina attorney talks about how credit card debt is handled after death

West Covina attorney talks about how credit card debt is handled after deathAs long as the deceased is the sole person responsible for the credit card, the credit card debt falls on the estate to be paid through assets after going through probate. The remainder of the assets are then distributed according to the deceased’s will or state law if no will was written.

If there is a co-signer on the credit card, however, responsibility for the debt falls to the co-signer–in addition to or in place of the estate. Fortunately, a second cardholder who is not a co-signer and merely an authorized user is not liable for the credit card debt. But due to community property laws, a spouse may still be held responsible for debt even if they are not a co-signer on the credit card.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all assets go through probate. As puts it…

Some items, such as IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, and insurance, typically pass to whomever you’ve named as a beneficiary, which is one good reason to keep those designations up to date. In many cases, those assets aren’t considered part of the estate.

Since these assets don’t go through probate, the executor can’t use them to pay estate bills.

The loss of a loved one is hard enough without having to worry about debt. Make sure your loved ones finances and will are in order. Contact me or visit our West Covina office for a free consultation! David Lozano is dedicated to making things as easy as possible for you and your loved ones!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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Wondering what you should do when dealing with divorce as well as bankruptcy? (Los Angeles attorney David Lozano offers his advice!)

Along with the loss of a job and medical bills, divorce is one of the most common contributing factors that lead to bankruptcy. Divorce settlements don’t always leave one or both parties with enough to sustain themselves. Many times people are left without a house or car and are sometimes required to pay for child support or alimony.

When it comes to filing bankruptcy due to divorce, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. Only existing debt that has been incurred prior to filing is affected by the bankruptcy claim. So if the divorce hasn’t been finalized, you will be held responsible for all expenses that come up after filing bankruptcy. Another fact to be aware of is that some payments will not be eliminated by filing bankruptcy, such as child support or alimony. On the flip side, if you are receiving child support or alimony, that money is typically exempt from the bankruptcy process!

Bankruptcy is difficult enough without having to worry about divorce litigations on top of that. Should this happen, however, you can rest assured that David Lozano will get you through the bankruptcy process as smoothly as possible! Contact me for a free consultation!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

Dealing with debt and rising prices? Lancaster attorney David Lozano advises you to keep a budget!

Everyone has a different grocery shopping approach–some make a list, others go in and shop for whatever looks good, some plan their shopping trip by clipping coupons and waiting for the biggest sales, others shop for what they need for the week. Whatever their shopping style, however, all shoppers will be affected by the increase in food prices this year!

There is a predicted 2% to 3% rise in food prices for 2011! According to Rick Plumlee, the break down of prices goes like this:

“Beef increased nearly 6 percent through Sept. 30 over the end of the third quarter in 2009. Pork shot up 10 percent, and fresh vegetables increased more than 4 percent. And then there are eggs. They jumped 11.3 percent, in part because of a salmonella outbreak in August at two Iowa farms.”

With the economy the way it is, any increase in prices is cause for concern! Gas prices are already causing people to pull their hair out. Although the government has turned to using ethanol fuel to try to keep the price of gas down. But wait, ethanol is made from corn! Do you know how many foods have corn or corn syrup in them? Not to mention how corn is used as feed for chickens.

As a bankruptcy attorney, I look at things from the perspective of my clients. Dealing with debt makes even the slightest jump in prices a nightmare! I advise my clients to practice good budget management. By sticking to a budget, my clients can take advantage of the times when prices are good and make do when they aren’t! Visit our Lancaster location today for a free consultation!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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Overdraft protection plan dangers – West Covina attorney David Lozano

I’ve told you in past blog posts about the drawbacks that go with payday loans, but a bad payday scheme isn’t the only risky deal out there! Banks offer what is called an overdraft protection plan to prevent a check from bouncing due to insufficient funds. Of course this sounds like good thing but, as with the payday loans, there is a major downside!

If you should happen to make a withdrawal that exceeds the amount of money you have in your account, you are charged a penalty fee. Well that sounds reasonable, right? The bank simply wants to discourage people from overdrawing their accounts. The only problem is that the fee can be up to $20 or $35 per overdraft! On top of that, there is a $2 to $5 daily fee until the balance is paid!

West Covina attorney spreads the word about the risks of overdraft protection!An overdraft is most common at the ATM or when using a debit card, but it can also occur when writing a check. Overdrawing an account usually happens when someone doesn’t monitor his or her account activity as closely as he or she should. But even the most scrupulous account holder is capable of making a mistake!

Of course by itself, an overdrawn account doesn’t typically result in bankruptcy, but the little things can add up! Someone who is dealing with the loss of a job or medical bills doesn’t need anything else on his or her plate! At the Law Offices of David Lozano, we do everything we can to make your financial life easier! Stop in at our West Covina location or contact me for a free consultation.

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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Are Mom and Dad making sacrifices for your sake?

To cope with the current state of our economy people will often take on extra shifts at work or cut back on frivolous spending. But what about individuals who are retired and their frivolous spending consists solely of buying the grandkids holiday and birthday gifts? That’s right, I’m talking about generous Grandmas and Grandpas here!

The elderly are struggling with debt just as much as the rest of society. A common assumption has been that social security and a good 401(k) plan will be enough to support the elderly after retirement. What I’ve seen happening more and more frequently, however, is elderly folks dipping into their savings for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

Supporting ones children is a hard habit to break. So when Mom and Dad see their son or daughter low on cash, struggling with unemployment, beset with unexpected hospital bills, or in need, the automatic response is to help out.

Lending cash when one is on a fixed income is difficult though. Many elderly men and women turn to borrowing against the equity on their house or relying on credit cards to get by. Unfortunately, both of these methods lead to trouble! Taking out a second mortgage can easily result in foreclosure and missing a few payments on the credit card quickly develops into hefty credit card debt. The elderly may even go without prescribed medication or scrimp on food in an effort to keep up with their bills.

No one likes the thought of dear old Grandma and Grandpa risking their health and comfortable living during retirement! That’s why it is important that elderly individuals get professional financial advice before it comes to that!

Bankruptcy was designed to give people relief from their debt! Mom and Dad have been taking care of you all your life! It’s probably about time to return the favor. Contact me for a free consultation. Together we will make sure that your elderly loved ones can enjoy their retirement to the fullest!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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Do you give yourself and your credit card enough credit? (Bankruptcy attorney David Lozano sheds a little limelight on the subject!)

It is probably safe to say that the majority of Californians are credit cardholders. The U.S. Census Bureau recently collected data on the number of credit cardholders there were in the United States and found that there were 159 million in 2000 and 176 million in 2008. With this data, they then estimated the count for 2011 to be 183 million. I’d like to think these astonishing figures support the idea that Americans are, in general, becoming more financially responsible!

Getting your own credit card is almost like a right of passage for many young adults. It symbolizes that they are–or at least have the potential to be–financially responsible. When managed correctly, a credit card is a useful and often beneficial method of payment. Some credit cards even come with rewards or cash back on essentials, such as groceries, gas, dining, or travel.

There are many brands of credit cards offered by different companies, but did you realize there are just three basic types of credit cards?–unsecured cards, high risk cards, and secured cards.

An unsecured card is most commonly offered to individuals with a good, solid credit history. These cards do not require cash deposit and have no collateral loans. High risk cards often go to people who have a slightly less polished credit history. These cards tend to have an activation fee, annual fees, and late payment penalties attached to them. The last type is a secured credit card, which comes with steep annual fees and late payment penalties. This type of credit card functions similarly to a debit card in that you need to have a certain amount of cash in an account as “insurance”.

When it comes to credit cards, there are many options out there. But no matter what type of credit card you have, as a bankruptcy attorney, I am equipped to handle any type of credit card debt you may have. Contact me for a free consultation on settling your credit card debt!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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Worried about rumors you have heard about debtor’s prison?

During my time as a bankruptcy attorney I have heard many concerns that clients have when it comes to filing bankruptcy. One worry which has plagued quite a few of my clients is whether or not there is a possibility that they will go to jail as a consequence of the debt they have incurred. This fear has usually arisen from something a creditor said or a case they heard or read about involving debtor’s prison in another country. In the United States, such a thing was outlawed over 200 years ago, so you can rest assured that you won’t go to jail because you are unable to pay your credit card debt!

Prison sentences are only given in severe cases in which someone has knowingly and purposefully engage in illegal exploits, such as failing to show up for a court hearing, refusing to pay child support, or defrauding the IRS. The bankruptcy exemption law was written in order to protect debtors who file bankruptcy, not punish them.

Filing bankruptcy is a big step and it should be taken with confidence and relief. There is no need for you to worry unnecessarily when you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney at your side. Contact me for a free consultation, and we will determine what course of action is right for you!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

What if creditors continue to call after your debt has been discharged? (Bankruptcy attorney David Lozano urges you to stand your ground!)

Once your debt has been discharged by the bankruptcy court, creditors and collection agencies are out of luck! Third party collection agencies have been known to contact a person and demand payment even after that person has declared bankruptcy and had his or her debt discharged. Do not fall prey to their subterfuge! By taking responsibility and filing bankruptcy you have cleared your name! That means that anyone calling about debt that has been discharged is out of line!

If creditors or third party collection agencies call after the bankruptcy court has approved your bankruptcy claim, take appropriate action! Tell them that the debt has been discharged. If they do not accept that fact or continue to hassle you, don’t give in! They are in the wrong, so stand your ground! Inform them that you will contact the Federal Trade Commission if they continue to call. Attempting to collect on debt that has been discharged is illegal and they can be held in contempt for doing so!

The whole point of filing bankruptcy is to get a fresh start without having to worry about creditors! As a bankruptcy attorney, I can help you make sure that no one takes advantage of you! I look out for my clients before, during, and after the bankruptcy process so that you can enjoy your debt free life with peace of mind!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

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What about my credit score? (Hint: Bankruptcy is good for your credit score in the long run)

We can all agree that a good credit score is handy to have. So why would you risk the score you have by filing bankruptcy?

To be frank, you risk more by doing nothing. Your credit score is already hurting or you probably wouldn’t be in the pickle you’re in, right? Look at it this way: filing bankruptcy is like putting a bandage and antibiotic on a wound. If you do nothing, that wound will get infected!

So you file bankruptcy, but what about your credit report for the next 10 years? Contrary to what a lot of people think, all is not lost. Just because a bankruptcy is on there doesn’t mean you can’t improve your credit score in the meantime. In fact, the more you do to regain a healthy credit score the less likely creditors will be to concern themselves with what happened in the past. They will be more interested in whether you are staying current with your payments and managing your credit responsibly from here on out!

In fact, keep in mind that you are a better credit risk after you file for bankruptcy. Why is that? Because after you file for bankruptcy, creditors know that you can’t file again for eight years in the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and somewhat less than that in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Instead of worrying that you will file for bankruptcy, creditors will know that you are already in the process of rebuilding your credit.

So put a bankruptcy bandage on your debt so that you can begin the healing process. Bankruptcy lawyer David Lozano is your best choice for filing bankruptcy in Southern California. Please give me a call–you’ll be happy you did!

David Lozano, Attorney at Law
Contact me today for a free consultation
800-974-5680/Se habla español

Worried about getting a credit card after filing bankruptcy? (Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney David Lozano is here to alleviate your worries!)

I want to clear up the misunderstanding that many people have concerning credit cards. The common impression is that you won’t be able to get a credit card once you file bankruptcy. This is a myth! Credit card offers are going to come to you a week or two after you file bankruptcy–by way of your mailbox!

Of course, the first to arrive might not be your best bet. These companies’ cards tend to come with costly fees and cleverly disguised pitfalls. The good news is that once you’ve started to rebuild your credit, more favorable offers will begin to filter in–ones without fees or hidden drawbacks.

Perhaps another thought has crossed your mind, though. If you’ve just filed bankruptcy, why would you want to get a credit card and risk credit card debt all over again? My rule of thumb is  to use your new credit card strictly for emergencies and as a tool to rebuild your credit. If an emergency crops up and you’re without cash, a credit card will get you through the situation.

As for the second part of my rule of thumb. Using your credit card in a responsible and managed way can work out in your favor! As long as you make all your payments on time and in full, you can take an active part in rebuilding your credit!

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